Photo credit: Whitney Cranshaw, csu
Pesticides are an important part of an Integrated Pest Managment (IPM) plan. The areas treated are often shared by pollinators like bees, butterflies, wasps, and some birds and bats. Pollinators are essential in the survival and propogation of many flowering plants both in farms and on the urban landscape. As a pesticide applicator, you must take responsibility for reducing pesticide risks to honey bees. This can be done by doing the following things:
- Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM includes a combination of cultural, mechanical, biological organisms and pesticides. If pests cannot be managed by a combination of IPM strategies, a pesticide application may be necessary.
- Follow the pesticide label. Many labels contain bee hazard statements under the PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS (Complying with the label IS the law, after all!)
- Communicate with beekeepers near sites that require pesticide application. FieldWatch/DriftWatch are a useful tools to help identify hive locations.
- Register for FieldWatch to locate hives. (Informational Brochure).
- Know if there is an established RT25 for the pesticide you want to use. This is the residual time for 25% mortality of a hive based on a foliar application. It is assumed that if no more than 25% of the hive is affected, the hive will recover. More information and the data available for active ingredients can be found HERE
Watch the AmericanHort video on Protecting Bees and Pollinators to see how horticulturists are using IPM.
Check out Western SARE's Handbook "Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers and Conservationists.
Information on Colorado's State-managed Pollinator Protection Plan (MP3) is available HERE.
The following PDF documents give more detail on how to protect honey bees and other pollinators:
So how are the honey bees doing?
USDA Honey Production Report released March 20, 2015. Indicates that US Honey Production for 2014 is up 19 percent from 2013!
Report on the National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee HealthContains a summary of scientific-based information on the impact of pesticides on honey bees with lots of references.